A Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)


This online course brings together two fields that, until recently, have been separate: human rights and IWRM. These two fields have been brought together as awareness has grown within the human rights community that water management is fundamental to the realization of a range of human rights.

Upcoming edition of this course

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About this Course

Water-management practitioners have become increasingly aware of the crucial importance of water in key human rights domains, such as the right to life, the right to health, the right to food and the right to a healthy environment. Water is a resource that is essential to life itself, to all forms of economic production, to many forms of social interaction, to many cultural activities and to the maintenance of ecosystems.

This online course offers participants an introduction to the main principles and concepts for a human rights-based approach to IWRM, as an essential condition to improve access to water and sanitation and achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


By the end of the course participants will:

  • have an updated approach and review of the main concepts and principles of IWRM, HRBA and water governance;
  • understand the need for a rights-based approach for IWRM including recognizing the difference between a water right and the right to water;
  • review examples of good practices related to promoting HRBA to IWRM and establish a tool for the implementation of HRBA to IWRM;
  • have access to updated quality materials in support of specific subject areas for human rights and water management.


In each module participants will find valuable and updated readings, videos, suggested web sites, and experiences from the ground.


Module 1: Introduction to IWRM and water governance

  • Module 2: The Human Rights Based Approach
  • Module 3: A Human Rights Based Approach to IWRM International Law
  • Module 4: Core provisions of the human right to water
  • Module 5: Water, legal pluralism and human rights
  • Module 6: A tool for the implementation of a human right to IWRM

Target Audience

Participants representing various stakeholder groups from the entire water sector:

  • Stakeholders and professionals forming part of water management, civil society, river basin or international organizations; development programmes and members of UN organizations; and representatives of the private sector;
  • decision makers, policy makers, and high-level professionals and managers active in governmental bodies;
  • capacity developers active in the fields of sustainable water management, Integrated Water Resources Management, Human Rights Based Approaches, amongst others;

As an introductory course, participants are not expected to have previous knowledge on Human Rights Based Approaches.

Contents and course partners

The course is facilitated by a team of specialists representing Cap-Net UNDP, REDICA, WaterLex, and UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI.

Contents are based in the training manual on Human Rights-Based Approach to Intergrated Water Resources Management.

WaterLex                                                             www.waterlex.org

WaterLex promotes water dialogues, improved water cooperation, and brings sustainable water governance to the forefront of the global agenda. WaterLex is a development organization with UN ECOSOC and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) consultative status, and UN Water and Global Water Partnership (GWP) Partner status. It is a member of the UNECE expert group on equitable access to safe drinking water and of the UNDP Global Water Solidarity platform and the Swiss Water Partnership (SWP). WaterLex also enjoys governmental support, confirmed by ambassadors to the UN who are supporting the organization.


REDICA                                                   http://redicanetwork.com/

REDICA was created as a structure for training in sustainable development at the Central American level. It is made up of professional associations, eleven public and private universities in Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and the Dominican Republic. REDICA members interact with local governments, technical organizations, non-governmental organizations in relation to water resources and with vulnerable populations, rural, indigenous, as well as productive, industrial and agricultural sectors.


UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI          www.watergovernance.org

The Water Governance Facility (WGF) is a collaboration between the UNDP and SIWI, Stockholm International Water Institute. We work on knowledge and capacity development related to multiple thematic areas, including integrated water resources management, transboundary waters, water supply and sanitation, gender equality, water integrity and climate change adaptation.